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Apple's US Market Share Growth Slows in 4Q 2008

Gartner has released a preliminary report on U.S. and worldwide PC shipments for the fourth quarter of 2008. The report places Apple in fourth place in U.S market share at 8.0%, up from 6.7% in the fourth quarter of 2007, but down from 9.5% in the third quarter of 2008. The sequential decline in Apple's market share was not entirely unexpected, as Apple's traditionally strong performance in the back-to-school third quarter typically results in a drop in market share for the fourth quarter of each calendar year.


Apple's U.S. Market Share Trend: 1Q06-4Q08 (Gartner)

Apple's computer shipments, which had been growing 30-40% year-over-year according to Gartner's data, grew only 8.3% over fourth quarter of 2007 shipment numbers. Despite the slower growth rate, Apple continued to outperform the industry as a whole, which saw a significant decline in US shipments of 10.1% over the fourth quarter of 2007. Apple's growth, however, was outpaced by that of Acer, which saw a year-over-year increase of 55.4%, enough to take over the third place position formerly held by Apple. Gartner attributes Acer's recent market share success to their focus on the booming low-cost mini-notebook segment.


Gartner's Preliminary U.S. PC Vendor Unit Shipment Estimates for 4Q08 (Thousands of Units)

IDC also released a similar report today yielding comparable results. According to IDC, Apple's fourth quarter market share ranked fourth at 7.2%, while computer shipments grew 7.5% over 4Q 2007. IDC also released US market share data for calendar year 2008, where Apple placed fourth with a 7.7% market share, up from 6.2% in calendar year 2007. Apple's yearly growth rate of 25.7% far exceeded the industry-wide US growth rate of 2.4%.

Apple remained unable to break into the top five vendors for worldwide market share in either set of data, as Toshiba held down the fifth spot for both the fourth quarter of 2008 and calendar year 2008 at approximately 4.5%.